For children, anxiety and stress can be very present at the beginning of the year. As school starts up again, kids can feel worried about meeting new people and being separated from parents. It goes without saying that no parent wants their child to experience these difficult emotions, which is why it’s important to know how to help them manage and overcome them in a healthy way.
Here are a few ways to help your anxious child overcome their school-related stress.
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Show that you’re there for them
For many children, it can be difficult to express feelings of anxiety simply because they’ve not yet learned the language or communication skills to do so. This is also why it can often feel overwhelming for them when they are encouraged or expected to open up. For this reason, making your child feel safe and comfortable enough to express their feelings is the first crucial step.
When opening up a conversation about anxiety with a kid, it’s important to ensure that it doesn’t stress them even further. A good way to lightly encourage them to express their feelings is by using sentences that express how you are interpreting their actions. For example, you could say something like, “it looks like you’re feeling a bit nervous about seeing so many new faces around at school.” This can take the pressure of your child to think of the right way to explain how their feeling.
From here, it’s important to validate their emotions. Speaking to your little one in a loving, comforting way can help them to feel safe and provide a lot of comfort when they need it most. Validating their emotions is about reassuring them that it’s okay to feel what they’re feeling. For example, “it’s normal to feel nervous about meeting new people at school. But I’ll be here to help you through it when you’re feeling scared.” This approach demonstrates that there is nothing shameful about feeling anxious, while reassuring them that they can come to you if they ever need help.
Most importantly, you should always respect your child’s boundaries while talking to them about their feelings. Sometimes, children simply aren’t ready or don’t know how to open up and express themselves. In this situation, it’s best not to pressure them as this may make them feel even worse.
Practice mindfulness techniques with your anxious child
For people who experience anxiety, mindfulness techniques can be a really helpful way to calm down. When your child is having an anxious moment, it’s a great idea to sit with them and practice some breathing and meditation exercises so they can learn how to calm themselves.
This approach can be particularly good to practice at times when your child may feel a lot of anxiety, such as before going to school or hopping into bed at night. Check out our blog on mindfulness to discover easy and effective ways to use meditation techniques to help calm anxiety.
Take them to a psychologist
If you have an anxious child, seeking professional help sooner rather than later is always a good idea. For children, expressing feelings and emotions can be really difficult. This is why taking them to see a child psychologist is a great way to help them manage their emotions. A professional can not only figure out the cause of your child’s anxiety, but help teach both you and them how to manage these feelings.